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July 20, 2018 1:28 pm
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Motorways have been gridlocked and holidaymakers are facing delays at airports as Britain’s busiest day for travel of the year begins to unfold.

The start of the school holidays in England and Wales is expected to see around 3.8 million extra journeys made by car across the country on what the RAC has described as “Frantic Friday”.

Major routes to holiday popular holiday destinations in the south west, including Devon and Cornwall, are expected to see average delays to travel times of well over an hour, with minor accidents threatening to create even longer tailbacks.

Several routes through Somerset, including the M5 motorway, as well as the M3 in southern England, have already snarled up as millions attempt to make their way to the coast. 

Meanwhile, the UK’s airports will see record numbers of passengers jetting off for summer breaks abroad.

Gatwick is set for the busiest day in its history on Friday, with 86,000 outbound passengers, or 80 per minute during operating hours, passing through its terminals.

At least 24 flights have also been cancelled due to strike action by Ryanair pilots, grounding services between London and Dublin over a dispute involving annual leave arrangements.

Follow the latest Frantic Friday travel news live here:

Live Updates


All lanes on the J19 are now open after they were closed while a car on the central reservation was removed.

Highways England cautioned motorists to expect long delays back to the M1. 


Remember, this is what you can do if your flight has been cancelled today due to the Ryanair pilot strike:


No sign of the incident that’s causing long delays on the M25 in Essex being resolved just yet:


A lot of the major routes down to the southwest are now beginning to look very congested, including the M5, A303 and A35.

Sections of road on the map marked in yellow show where traffic is moving slower than usual, while red and black areas represent where roads are at a near or complete standstill:


ICYMI: Some flights from Gatwick were hit by delays this morning, while the airport will still face some disruption into the evening – here’s why: 


There are now severe delays on the M25 eastbound in Essex between the junctions for the M11 and A12, where traffic is not moving following a two-vehicle crash.

One lane is closed and Highways England is reporting delays of 50 minutes, which may not ease until 5pm this evening. 


Traffic coastbound on the M20 near Maidstone is not moving, with Kent County Council reporting this is due to a vehicle losing its load:


It now appears that traffic is really struggling on the M5 in Somerset, both north and southbound:


Earlier we said authorities in Somerset were preparing for heavy traffic and some major routes in the county already appear to be snarling up: 


Somerset is a county that is likely to see its roads flooded with extra traffic as holidaymakers descend on the southwest.

Avon and Somerset Police is asking drivers to carry out some basic checks before they set off to ensure they don’t end up making the delays worse:


Been affected by the Ryanair strike today? Unsure why your flight has been cancelled? Read Independent travel correspondent Simon Calder‘s comprehensive guide to the situation and what action you can take:


Around 2.5 million British holidaymakers will head overseas this weekend, with Spain the most popular destination, according to trade body ABTA.

More than half a million will depart from Heathrow alone, while a further 250,000 fly from Gatwick, 148,000 from Stansted and 88,000 from Luton.

Outside of London, there will be 160,000 people flying from Manchester and 67,500 from Birmingham.

Although Scottish schools are well into their summer break, 200,000 will still be leaving from the country’s airports this weekend, more than half of which will be flying from Glasgow.


A few thunderstorms are set to hit the UK today as a belt of rain sweeps across the country. 

The Met Office says the worst of the weather could hit the south east later this evening, which could cause difficult conditions for anyone heading off on holiday after work:


When is the best time to travel?

Not only has the RAC forecast which roads will see the longest delays this weekend, it has also predicted the best and worst times to travel.

The advice seems to suggest you’re better to leave it late on Friday evening to get your journey underway, or beat the traffic by getting up early over the weekend:


Best time: 7pm to 9pm

Worst time: 2pm to 5.30pm



Best time: 7am to 9am

Worst time: 11.30am to 1pm



Best time: 7am to 9am

Worst time: 12pm to 1pm


If you have been affected by today’s Ryanair pilot strike, our travel correspondent Simon Calder explains what your rights are when it comes to cancelled flights:


Yesterday, thousands of British Airways passengers saw delays as the airline canceled dozens of flights at London Heathrow:


The RAC has compiled a list of major roads across the UK it believes will see heavy congestion today. Here are the top five and the additional time expected to be added to journeys. Delays could be longer if breakdowns or accidents take place on these routes:

  • M40 southbound: Junction 3A (Birmingham) to Junction 1A (Watford) – 1hr 30min delay
  • M5 southbound: Junction 12 (Gloucester) to Junction 31 (Bodmin) – 1hr 17min delay
  • M5 northbound: Junction 31 (Bodmin) to Junction 12 (Gloucester) – 1hr 9min delay
  • A303 westbound: Junction: M3 (Basingstoke) to A37 (Bristol) – 52min delay
  • M4 westbound: Junction 18 (Bath) to Junction 23 (Chepstow) – 46min delay